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by TomLM 

Posted: 01 February 2004
Word Count: 514
Summary: Please be brutal - It needs great improvement, or maybe destruction. Any idea which?

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I have been told that I emerged inauspiciously, one night I was ‘sleeping’, one morning awake, but not aware. There was no cliched awakening, I did not, apparently, sit bolt upright to open my eyes. But my coma had been blissful and rejuvenating. My body was young again, and like a child my limbs were unresponsive, my mouth weak and my brain lazy.

But when I saw whitewashed walls and smelt freshly scrubbed floors I was filled with more than horror; a total ignorance of my being and of my being there. The luminescent red figures on the alarm clock changed but my thoughts remained in the past. But what past had I, from my own mind I could tell you that 2:46 was the hour of my creation. What day or year I had no idea.

It was, or at least seemed hours before I realized that the gentle motion of shadow over my clothed form was caused not by some trick of light, but by the slight, almost imperceptible breeze that I felt on my freshly shaven cheek. The curtained window on the left side of the room, beyond a suitcase that I later found to be mine, was ajar. My mistake was to allow the urge to breathe fresh, desanitised air to overcome me. As I drew back the sheets and tried to swing my legs to the floor there came the awful conclusion.

I broke down and cried the most uncomfortable of tears, glass shavings to my dry eyes, and remained motionless till the morning rounds. Without help or hope I quietly sobbed into the harsh cotton pillow. Everything had a certain cut, to my softened frame the softest silk of the exquisite mauve bedclothes was as wool; heavy, rough and unwelcome.

‘Welcome Francis’.
A voice spoke, from the door a middle aged, assuring nurse came forward
‘Well perhaps good morning would suit better?’
‘Good morning?’ Slowly it had dawned upon me that this was evidently the first I had spoken since my admittance, but drought within my throat prevented conversation of even the most limited form.
The nurse was experienced in such matters and within seconds had begun to pour the most divine, delectable and most importantly cold liquid into my mouth. Oh but the weakness of my form. I couldn’t even hold my own blasted glass of water let alone amble to the window. The window that was now framing a mild storm with its sashed elegance.

When I woke again the clock told me it was 13:51. But what exertion had caused yet more hours to be lost? None but disgusted introspection and severe mental anguish. Still I had not moved anything but my eyes and neck. I so wanted more water, to envelop my throat as an Atlantic wave fills a small craft. But my fingers immediately jarred as the slow electrical signals crossed from the synapses in my neural sphere to the disabled muscles and joints, and in the process faltered. Once more I gave up, in ubiquitous pain, and resisted sleep no more.

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Comments by other Members

Account Closed at 11:37 on 01 February 2004  Report this post

I think this is a wonderful short story, well, as wonderful as paralysis can be, but you've managed to capture a physical experience in a short piece. Very well constructed and I don't think it needs destroying at all. You have a writing style that is very learned. A longer short story under your hand would be quite an addictive read I feel. I liked how it was written, not what I expected, dream like quality to your words, a thousand times more crafted than you're giving yourself credit for.

I loved the line:

I broke down and cried the most uncomfortable of tears, glass shavings to my dry eyes

It reminded me of H.G. Well's 'When The Sleeper Wakes', a story that you might like, you can easily find a free e-text site on the net featuring this said story. Enjoy it as much as I enjoyed yours.


Dee at 11:59 on 01 February 2004  Report this post
Tom, I agree with Steven. Your imagery is wonderful. I like the way you describe his abnormally heightened senses.

The only place it jarred, for me, was the bit about the Atlantic wave and the boat. It seemed a little contrived… sorry.

Otherwise I think this is damned good writing and I hope you stay with us so we can read more.

Welcome to WW,

TomLM at 12:11 on 01 February 2004  Report this post
Now, when I read the passage before posting it here, the wave bit jarred with me as well...

The intention when I began writing this was that it was to be the opening of a medium sized novel.

The basic plot would be:

Person wakes up after medium length coma, has to recovery mentally and physically

Finds out he is a rather well known author.

Tries to write again but anything he produces is compared infavourably to his previous works.

Re-reads previous books (all in first person), mistakenly feels that the unjust and immoral actions of his characters were real, and so seeks revenge.

Ending - not sure, perhaps writes better, perhaps commits suicide.

Any comments?

Tom L-M

haunted at 12:12 on 01 February 2004  Report this post
Hi TomLM,

This story definitely doesn't need destruction. You should have more faith in your work because I certainly do. I was even disappointed when the story ended, I felt I needed to know more about this character and his struggle.

It reminded me a little of Stephen Kings "Misery" in the way the helpless of disability becomes most unnerving.

The line "glass shavings to my dry eyes" was also a favourite of mine. It really captured me for a moment. But the line at the end of the story "electrical signals crossed from the synapses in my neural sphere" jarred a bit in my mind. It seemed slightly too technical. But that might just be me.

Please write more!


roovacrag at 12:22 on 01 February 2004  Report this post
Tom,try not to use big words, it does not impress a reader,puts them off. Read it through again.Nothing worse than getting the dictionary out to look up a meaning.Some writers think they are clever in doing this ..I like a lot more throw it away.Simplicity makes easy reading.These are the books that sell.On the whole a good short story.xxxxAlice


Become a full member and you will be pleased at how your work will turn out.xxxAlice

Account Closed at 15:44 on 01 February 2004  Report this post
Yep, another glass shavings fan. Sounds like you've got your novel idea and yes, it sounds interesting: an author writing about an author - made me think of the film Adaptation. As for the ending, I'm sure it'll come to you when you get to know your character properly. Is he the suicide type or has he got too much fighting spirit? If he gets through surviving this coma I would say more the latter but it's your story...

dr_mandrill at 16:33 on 03 February 2004  Report this post
Sweet Jesus, this made me realise how claustrophobic I am. Nicely done, but so short! Such a tease! Like others above, I'll read more if you write more.



neilwills at 20:19 on 15 January 2006  Report this post
What can I add Tom? Nothing that hasn't been said already. Very enjoyable and atmospheric.

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